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Jason Molina

Eight Gates (Secretly Canadian)

£18.49

RELEASED: 7th August 2020
Red Coloured Vinyl LP

Format:

Red Coloured Vinyl LP

‘Eight Gates’ is the last collection of solo studio recordings Molina made before he died in 2013. He had been on an experimental solo tour through Europe and while in Northern Italy, Molina claimed to have been bitten by a rare, poisonous spider. A debilitating bout of illness ensued and he was hospitalized on his return to London. Whilst recuperating at home he wrote songs and claimed that during this time, he fed several bright green parrots that would gather in his yard. While often associated with a greyscale sensibility, Molina was oft-clad in a Hawaiian shirt and had, at least in part, selected the name Songs: Ohia for his first project as a nod to Hawaii’s ‘Ohi’a lehua flower. Which is all to say, the tropical element the parakeets brought to those sick days delighted Molina. He made short, crude field recordings of them with his trusty four-track. Only once Molina was officially on the mend and re-exploring the streets of London would he learn that those parrots had their own fabled tale. Back in the 60s, Jimi Hendrix - in a moment of psychedelic clarity - released his pair of lime green ring-necked parakeets from their cage, setting them free into the London sky. Now, their descendants are spotted regularly around certain parts of the city. Or so we’re told.

Recorded in London around the time of the supposed spider bite and Jimi’s supposed parakeets, some of the songs (‘Whispered Away’, ‘Thistle Blue’) are fully-realized - dark, moody textures that call to mind his earlier work on The Lioness. Knowing what we know about those parakeets and their peppered presence on the recordings, one can’t help but think of that colourful tree of birds on Talk Talk’s classic ‘Laughing Stock’, certainly a spiritual guide for much of the set. Other songs (‘She Says’, ‘The Crossroads and The Emptiness’) lay in a more unfinished states, acoustic takes that call to mind Molina’s ‘Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go’, and still tethered to Molina’s humorous studio banter. You remember how young Molina was and how weighty this art was for such a young man. On the closer, ‘The Crossroads and The Emptiness’, Molina snaps at the engineer before tearing into a song in which he sings of his birthday (December 30), a palm reading and the great emptiness with which he always wrestled. It is a perfect closer and, in many ways, the eighth gate incarnate: mythical, passable only in the mind, built for himself and partway imaginary but shared, thankfully, with us.

TRACKLISTING:

SIDE 1

1. Whisper Away
2. Shadow Answers The Wall
3. The Mission's End
4. Old Worry
5. She Says

SIDE 2
1. Fire On The Rail
2. Be Told The Truth
3. Thistle Blue
4. The Crossroad + The Emptiness